It appears that this week, the New York Times, the so-called paper of record, upon whom the self-directed spotlight of smug superiority ever shines – has now taken that final, irrevocable step from the business of reporting news and current events, matters cultural and artistic to becoming a purveyor of progressive propaganda. Of course, as characters in British procedural mysteries often say, ‘they have form’ when it comes to progressive propaganda; all the way from Walter Duranty’s reporting on famine in the Soviet Union through the drumbeat of ‘worst war-crime evah!’ in coverage when it came to Abu Ghraib, and the current bête noir – or rather ‘bête orange’ man bad. It seems that it has now become necessary for the Times to make the issue of chattel slavery of black Africans the centerpiece, the foundation stone, the sum and total of American history. Everything – absolutely everything in American history and culture now must be filtered through the pitiless lens of slavery.
The title of this post is the punchline to an old, old story about the limits of advertising; a story which may or may not be based on fact. The story goes that a big food-manufacturing conglomerate came up with a brand new formulation for dog food, and advertised it with a huge, costly campaign: print ads, TV commercials, product placement in movies, TV shows, county fairs, giveaways and sponsorships; the whole ball of wax … and the product cratered. The CEO of the company is irate and demands answers from anyone who can give him a reason why. Didn’t they do everything possible to make their dog food brand the market leader? Image everyone at that meeting looking nervously at each other at this point – because they have done everything possible … except for one small thing. Finally, someone gets up sufficient nerve to answer. “But the dogs don’t like it.”
Dr. Keilson devoted his life to his patients, many of them Jewish children traumatized by the war and separation from their biological parents, some of whom the Nazis had murdered. He wrote a groundbreaking and widely translated study of “sequential trauma.”
The novels are partly autobiographical, sparse but intricate and psychologically compelling. “The Death of the Adversary” portrays Jewish life in Germany as the Nazis gain control, but the words Jew, Germany and Hitler, referred to as “B,” never appear. The protagonist, a young Jew, feels distanced from both his own people and current events. He develops an intimate obsession with B, understanding that, as Dr. Keilson said, “B needed the Jews to project onto them what he dislikes in himself.”
(Link: NYT) Has anyone read the novels of Hans Keilson? I am intrigued.
Update: Are there other physician novelists that CBz readers care to recommend?